While I’m not likely ever to get diagnosed with OCD or anything (if I had OCD, my sock drawer would be a lot tidier, even if my life were more chaotic), I do have my obsessions. In fact, I realized awhile back that my relationship to all forms of entertainment, particularly books, TV and the internet, is nothing but a series of obsessions. Whatever I’m interested in at the time is an all-consuming passion and until that passion burns out I really find it hard not to interject my current obsession into every conversation. For awhile I have to read every one of the Lord Peter Wimsey novels and all the short stories and rent the TV adaptations and basically eat breathe and sleep Lord Peter Wimsey — until it suddenly becomes necessary for me to read all the Harry Potter books in order and watch the movies in order and read Harry Potter discussion boards and even start reading fanfic. Fortunately the time I get to the fanfic level is about the time the obsession starts to fade so I can put that particular interest on simmer and get back to what I laughingly refer to as my life.
Yes, it would be nice if I could bring this level of single-minded obsession to something actually useful, but believe me, I’m way past worrying about that. This is who I am and I’m learning to accept it.
So: two obsessions currently rule my life. And while I can’t work them into literally every conversation, I can certainly blog about them.
Number One: My current must-see TV-show: Rome.
Yeah yeah, I know Rome was actually on TV a couple of years ago. But since I don’t have cable my relationship with TV is generally a bit delayed — in this case, delayed until things come out on DVD. Anyway, Jason and I are both loving HBO’s violent, graphic, sometimes-a-bit-too sexually explicit, engrossing, absorbing drama about Rome in the days of Julius and Augustus Caesar. We’re both enjoying it, but I’m obsessed, and am basically living my life from one episode to the next. We have only seven episodes to go and I can’t even imagine life after the fall of Rome.
Of course, I can justify the time I spend on Rome all sorts of ways. It’s very useful research for the novel I’m writing set in first-century Philippi. Not that any Biblical novel published by my Christian publisher is going to contain the level of boinking or bloodletting possible in an HBO series (nor would I want it to!) — but it’s great for giving a feel of everyday life at that time, especially since the main characters include not just the bigwigs like Caesar, Brutus and Mark Antony, but also our everyman heroes, Titus Pullo and Lucius Vorenus, so we get glimpses into the homes and shops and lives of ordinary people. Also, I’m teaching Julius Caesar in English 2201 at the moment and I keep having Rome flashbacks as I’m teaching — and is it blasphemy to admit that there are some things I think the makers of Rome did better than Shakespeare?? Because, yeah, I do kinda think that.
Jason is usually pretty patient with my obsessions. Tonight he asked if I wanted to watch anything on TV before bed and I said “Yeah … Rome,” and he tentatively suggested tonight we might watch something else, just this once, just for a change of pace. “I feel like something lighter,” he said. Well, OK. We watched something lighter. But I didn’t quite understand. I mean, if you’ve got Rome, why would you want to watch something else? (I can recall almost the exact same conversation about this time last year, after the third or fourth night in a row when I’d suggested we watch an episode of House). Really, this constant need for variety … I don’t get it. But I try to be flexible, recognizing not everyone is as easygoing as Jason is with an obsessive spouse.
Then there’s my other obsession, the one that doesn’t take a solid hour every evening but that I can come back to on and off for a minute or two at a time throughout the day: Facebook Scrabble.
The funny thing is I’m not even all that good at Scrabble. I’ve always enjoyed it, but I don’t have the patience to be a really good player, and I get quite ostentatiously bored when I play with better players, like Jason or Jennifer, who take forever to plot out the best possible move (I always read a book while playing Scrabble with Jason — I can get quite a lot read during his turns). Facebook Scrabble seems to suit me better than real-life Scrabble — the leisurely pace, being able to drop in on several different games for a minute or two at a time, to leave a game and come back to it hours later, the variety of being able to play with so many different people. It’s actually making me a better, more strategic player (the photo above is of the only game I’ve played so far where my score was above 300).
Again, it’s too bad I can’t put all this passionate intensity into, you know, curing cancer or finding mates for all those lonely singles in my sock drawer … but hey, I am what I am, obsessions and all. Let me enjoy them while they last … there’ll be a new one along shortly.